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Teenager making progress month after Mother’s Day boat explosion
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Taylor Coleman, 16, has spent more than a month in Grady Memorial hospital following a Mother's Day boat explosion on Lake Lanier.

A 16-year-old from Suwanee has had a ventilator and feeding tube removed, a step that her family and friends consider a major milestone on her way to recovering from the May 9 boat explosion on Lake Lanier.

Taylor Coleman, 16, her brother Gunner Coleman, 13, and their mother, Annie Coleman, 39, of Suwanee, were all taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for burn injuries after an explosion and fire May 9 at the Port of Indecision at Margaritaville. The children were flown to the hospital, while the mother was taken by ambulance.

The family’s journey to recover made major progress when the ventilator was removed for Taylor Wednesday, June 15.

“As soon as they took the ventilator out, one of the nurses brought her a Starbucks, because that’s what she wanted, and an orange Gatorade,” family friend David Dirkse told The Times Thursday, June 17.

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Smoke can be seen in this image taken from a boat after an explosion Mother's Day 2021 at Lanier Islands that injured six people.

Taylor has been able to put her feet on the ground, though it will take some time to condition and strengthen her legs after weeks in the hospital, Dirkse said.

“They’re anticipating, hopefully, seeing her get released in about the next 10-12 days,” Dirkse said, adding that being out of the hospital environment will be a boost both mentally and physically.

Dirkse said Annie Coleman has healed while Gunner is progressing well.

The doctors cleared Gunner to play football in the fall, if he so chooses, as long as he wears compression garments and doesn’t overexert himself, Dirkse said.

After the explosion, Taylor’s car as well as her parents’ vehicles were up at the lake.

The one key Taylor had for the Volkswagen was in her purse on the boat and lost in the aftermath, Dirkse said.

The Dirkses and the Colemans were able to find a locksmith to replace the car key, allowing them to bring the vehicle back home.

Dirkse said the community has “really stepped up,” with a landscaping company taking care of the lawn and people bringing meals consistently since the incident.

Gofundme was organized by Dirkse that has raised more than $60,000 as of 7 p.m. Thursday, June 17.

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